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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Armand de Quatrefages1   18 July 1870

Paris

18 Juillet 70

Cher Monsieur et confrere

Soyez assez bon je vous prie pour me dire si vous avez publié le volume sur la Geologie de l’Amérique du Sud qui devait faire partie de l’Expédition du Beagle.—2 Je l’ai vainement cherché dans notre bibliothèque du Museum; je le chercherai ailleurs. Mais dans le cas où mes investigations seraient infructueuses, il est très important que je sache s’il a paru.— On a dit à l’Académie, dans le but de nuire à votre candidature que vous n’aviez fait que recueillir des objets d’histoire naturelle et que vous aviez appelé des aides pour les décrire.3 Je tiens a montrer la part que vous avez eue dans la publication.— Dites moi je vous prie quel est le format, combien il y a de pages, de cartes.—

Vous savez deja sans doute qu’a une premiere nomination Brandt ne l’a emporté sur vous qu’au second tour de scrutin.4 Mais nous avons trois places de correspondants à donner et j’espère bien que nous réussirons Edwards et moi à convaincre l’Académie.5 Deja nous avons eu deux séances de discussion. Lundi prochain nous recommencerons et ce sera à mon tour a prendre la parole. Croyez bien que je ferai mon possible pour que la bonne cause l’emporte; mais vous êtes vivement attaqué.6 Hélas! s’il n’y avait encore dans le monde que les batailles de cette nature nous serions bien heureux!—7

Votre bien dévoué | De Quatrefages

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 18, Appendix I.
CD’s geological observations related to the voyage of the Beagle were published in Coral reefs, Volcanic islands, and South America; all three appeared in one volume as Geology of the ‘Beagle’. Up to this time, there had been no French translation of any part of the work.
Quatrefages refers to the Académie des Sciences. The zoological material related to the voyage of the Beagle, Zoology, was edited and overseen by CD, but individual parts were done by different authors. See Correspondence vol. 2. For more on the opposition to CD’s nomination as corresponding member of the Académie, see n. 6, below.
Johann Friedrich von Brandt was elected on 4 July 1870 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [6 or 7 July 1870] and n. 5).
According to a report in the Revue des Cours Scientifiques, 23 July 1870, p. 529, Henri Milne-Edwards spoke on 18 July 1870 in favour of CD’s admission.
Emile Blanchard spoke for over an hour against CD’s admission. He argued that on the Beagle voyage, CD had merely collected and was not capable of making a scientific study of his collections; he held that CD’s theory of coral island formation was mostly derivative. He further claimed that CD’s pigeon studies demonstrated a lack of true scientific spirit, that his work on cirripedes contained hardly any new facts, and that his theory of descent was both false and unoriginal. Blanchard apparently argued against transformism with examples from Jean Baptiste de Lamarck (Revue des Cours Scientifiques, 23 July 1870, p. 529).
Quatrefages alludes to the Franco-Prussian war; France declared war on 19 July 1870 (Wawro 2003, p. 65).

Translation

From Armand de Quatrefages1   18 July 1870

Paris

18 July 1870

Dear Sir and colleague

Be so good, pray, as to tell me whether you have published the volume on the Geology of South America that was supposed to be part of the Expedition of the Beagle.—2 I have looked for it in vain in our library at the Museum; I shall seek it elsewhere. But in case my investigations should prove fruitless, it is very important for me to know whether it has appeared.— It is being said at the Academy, with a view to harming your candidature, that you had done no more than collect natural history specimens and that you had called on assistants to describe them.3 I am bent on showing the part you had in the publication.— Tell me if you please what the format is, and how many pages and maps there are—

No doubt you already know that in an earlier nomination Brandt only won out over you at the second ballot.4 But we have three vacancies for correspondents to award and I very much hope that we will succeed, Edwards5 and I, in convincing the Academy. We have already had two discussion sessions. Next Monday we shall start again and it will be my turn to speak. Please believe that I shall do what I can to make the good cause win; but you are being strongly attacked.6 Alas! If there were nothing but battles of this sort in the world, we should be very fortunate!—7

Your most devoted | De Quatrefages

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see p. QQQQ.
CD’s geological observations related to the voyage of the Beagle were published in Coral reefs, Volcanic islands, and South America; all three appeared in one volume as Geology of the ‘Beagle’. Up to this time, there had been no French translation of any part of the work.
Quatrefages refers to the Académie des Sciences. The zoological material related to the voyage of the Beagle, Zoology, was edited and overseen by CD, but individual parts were done by different authors. See Correspondence vol. 2. For more on the opposition to CD’s nomination as corresponding member of the Académie, see n. 6, below.
Johann Friedrich von Brandt was elected on 4 July 1870 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [6 or 7 July 1870] and n. 5).
According to a report in the Revue des Cours Scientifiques, 23 July 1870, p. 529, Henri Milne-Edwards spoke on 18 July 1870 in favour of CD’s admission.
Emile Blanchard spoke for over an hour against CD’s admission. He argued that on the Beagle voyage, CD had merely collected and was not capable of making a scientific study of his collections; he held that CD’s theory of coral island formation was mostly derivative. He further claimed that CD’s pigeon studies demonstrated a lack of true scientific spirit, that his work on cirripedes contained hardly any new facts, and that his theory of descent was both false and unoriginal. Blanchard apparently argued against transformism with examples from Jean Baptiste de Lamarck (Revue des Cours Scientifiques, 23 July 1870, p. 529).
Quatrefages alludes to the Franco-Prussian war; France declared war on 19 July 1870 (Wawro 2003, p. 65).

Summary

CD lost first round of nominations at the Académie Française to Jean-Frédéric de Brandt. QdeB and Milne-Edwards continue the battle, but CD is fiercely attacked.

Asks for complete citation of CD’s geological work on South America because it has to be shown he did more than collect objects.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7283
From
Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Paris
Source of text
DAR 175: 7
Physical description
3pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7283,” accessed on 24 May 2018, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7283

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18

letter